As teens and young adults increasingly become a key target for retailers, one big question has been the relationship this so-called digital native group has with brick-and-mortar stores.
It turns out the relationship is not bad at all and the group, broadly described as Gen Z, is far from abandoning physical stores despite their reliance on digital devices and digital media, according to several studies published this week.
For instance, when it comes to buying apparel and accessories, while so-called showrooming indeed exists (for instance, 85% of the female Gen Zers said they occasionally or regularly make a purchase online after seeing the product at a retail store) the reverse is just as true—91% said they browse online before buying in a physical store, according to surveys of about 600 female college students respectively in March and August by Chegg, which has helped brands from Best Buy to Coca-Cola market to college students.
In another sign that there’s opportunity for physical retailers despite growing online shopping, 65% of the respondents said they order goods online and pick them up in stores, according to the study, released this week at WWD's Digital Forum in New York.
A survey of more than 2,000 consumers aged 18 to 55 released Friday by payments platform provider Adyen also offered similar findings about the Gen Z shoppers.
The study, which defines Gen Z as those born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s with the oldest Gen Zer around 22 years old, said the demographic has high expectations that retailers’ online and in-store operations should work together. Some 48% of Gen Zers said in the study they expect to be able to return or exchange items bought online in the store, and 33% expect to be able to buy online and pick up in-store. The expectations are backed by how they actually shop: 54% of Gen Zers said they have already ordered items online to be picked up in store, according to the Adyen survey.
Why is Gen Z the growing focus of the marketers? The group’s own spending power totals $44 billion, Adyen said, adding Gen Z represents the second-largest age demographic of “tastemakers,” or early adopters. Perhaps more importantly, Gen Zers hold sway in their family’s purchasing decision. For instance, about 65% of shoppers said that at least half of their back-to-school spending is a direct result of their children’s influence, up from about 57% who said so last year, according to a National Retail Federation study published in July.